In a past life, I used to rock a snapback or a fitted damn near every time I left my apartment, which invited a lot of unsolicited small talk.
“Yankees, huh? So you’re from New York?”
I mean, I was born there. So I’d mention that, then explain that I had no vested interest in the Yankees or whoever the hell played for them. The hat just...went with my outfit.
“Yeah, but I don’t really watch baseball,” I’d say. “I just like the hat.”
This brings us to James Harden.
As someone who’s purchased at least 10 different masks since March, of all shapes, sizes and colors and for various needs—working out, grocery shopping, whatever—I’m going to assume that James Harden saw a mask that he really liked and just bought the shit.
I mean, look at it. It’s sexy, right?
As it turns out, the mask in question is called the “Blue Patriot,” and it was created in support of the same people who have yet to be charged for the murder of Breonna Taylor—or serve time for the deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks or other victims of police violence.
So considering our current climate, and the fact that NBA players have prioritized their need to address social justice—in addition to the fact that WNBA players will be wearing the names of Taylor, Sandra Bland and other women who were victims of racialized violence on their jerseys this season—Harden’s “fashion statement” doesn’t exactly call for police accountability.
As such, NBA Twitter is losing its shit.
Others, however, believe Harden has no idea what the hell is on his face and have come to his defense.
And as to be expected, Trump Twitter has its own thoughts on the matter.
After being escorted from The Cookout, Harden has yet to publicly comment as to whether or not he’s about that Blue Lives Matter life. But I will say this: I empathize with him because I almost made the exact same mistake.
I saw that exact same mask, thought to myself, “Damn, that looks dope,” then abandoned ship once I realized what it stood for. That’s a mistake you can afford to make while rocking a Yankees fitted, but not when we’re talking about police being held accountable for killing us.
So feel free to explain yourself, James. Breonna Taylor’s family would love to hear your answer.
Update: 07/17/2020, 3:03 p.m. ET: The Bearded One has spoken.
“Honestly, I wasn’t trying to make a political statement,” Harden told reporters prior to the Houston Rockets’ practice on Friday. “I honestly wore it just because it covered my whole face and my beard. It’s pretty simple.”